5 Questions to ask your prescriber at your next appointment

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We’ve all heard the expression hindsight is 20/20.  Well this is a simple decision if we are talking about the next pair of hiking shoes to purchase.  A decision is altogether more complex when you are faced with a complicated and expensive medical procedure, treatment or surgery.

In a study done in 2017, researchers measured the overall time physicians were able to spend with someone in 18 countries (which accounted for half of the world’s population).  The research found that appointments generally last between 5 – 22 minutes.  In a recent TED Talk one physician realized, while pondering over his work with clients and this new research, that he often recommended surgery for his patients based on his enthusiasm doing that exact surgery.  He is not alone.  Researchers suggest that 3/10 times your doctor prescribes something that is completely unnecessary.

Here are a few questions to consider asking your physician or healthcare team before moving forward with yes:

  • Is it really necessary?
  • Are there other options?
  • What are potential side effects if I choose this procedure/treatment/etc.?
  • What are possible implications if I don’t proceed?

We recommend bringing along your Aging Life Care manager to ask these questions on your behalf.  For many individuals they fear asking these questions of their physicians might potentially jeopardize their relationship.  Your care manager brings education and professional expertise to the conversation and they are also able to listen to the conversation with a neutral stance. After the appointment you and your family can review and decide which action to take when they have time to absorb and inform your physician of your decision.


Joyce Sjoberg

Aging Life Care Manager

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